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“The Persistence of Chaos combines the six most dangerous viruses of all time on one laptop. The art project can be bought at an auction for $760,000.
The Persistence of Chaos is the most dangerous laptop in the world
Computer viruses have been a huge problem since the beginning of the computing era. This makes the art project “The Persistence of Chaos” even more remarkable. Performance artist Guo O Dong has created the most dangerous laptop in the world in this project. Windows XP runs on a 2008 Samsung NC10-14GB netbook isolated from the network. As if that weren’t already security risk enough (hehe), Guo O Dong also installed the six most dangerous malware programs of all time on the netbook. According to the artist, these have caused damages of over 95 billion US dollars.
ILOVEYOU, BlackEnergy and WannaCry
On the netbook you can find not only absolute classics but also representatives of a newer kind. The first listed virus is known as ILOVEYOU. It spread explosively via email from May 4th, 2000 and infected over half a million computers. ILOVEYOU caused more than 15 billion US dollars in losses, over 5.5 billion in the first week. In addition, the two computer worms SoBig and MyDoom are installed. The two worms were present in 2003 and 2004 and are the mostly spread worms of all times. According to Guo O Dong, they caused 37 (SoBig) and 38 (MyDoom) billion US dollars in damage, making them the most expensive malware in the world.
With BlackEnergy also a CrimeWare is represented. The software, available on the black market since 2007, was originally designed to build botnets for DDoS attacks, but through rootkits, encryption and injections it is a true multi-tool for criminals. BlackEnergy triggered a blackout in large parts of the Ukraine in 2015. The malware DarkTequila, which has been in use since 2013, also has a criminal background. It stole data from bank accounts and companies even when the computer was offline. The malware, which was mainly used in Latin America, stole the bank accounts of hundreds of thousands of users and caused billions of dollars of damage.
However, the youngest and currently probably most dangerous representative on the netbook is WannaCry. The Ransomware is dangerous in several ways. On the one hand it encrypts all data of the infected computer, on the other hand it spreads as a worm to other Windows computers in the network. In addition, a backdoor is installed with which attackers can steal data. The victim will also be shown a Bitcoin address where a ransom is to be paid. From 12 May 2017, WannaCry suddenly infected over 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. These included company computers of large companies such as FedEx, Renault, Deutsche Bahn, Telefónica and Nissan as well as banks and hospitals. It is particularly serious that the American secret services NSA already knew about the vulnerability in Microsoft’s SMB protocol for five years and made use of it itself with the exploit EternalBlue. When the WannaCry attacks and the stolen EternalBlue exploit became known, the secret service passed the knowledge on to Microsoft. The Windows manufacturer then released patches for its operating systems Windows Vista and newer and Windows Server 2008 and newer on May 14, 2017.
The Persistence of Chaos can be purchased at auction for over $760,000
Guo O Dong created the artwork The Persistence of Chaos in collaboration with the cybersecurity company Deep Instinct. The artist wants his artwork to be understood as a critique of our extreme online culture today. Deep Instinct also wants to draw attention to the dangers of malware for badly secured company networks.
Since the sale of malware is prohibited in the USA, Guo O Dong sells The Persistence of Chaos as an art project. The buyer must confirm that he/she is purchasing the netbook for academic purposes only and will not spread the viruses. By the way, connecting the netbook to the network would suffice for this. The viruses on it would spread by themselves if no security measures were taken. For this reason, the artist deactivates all internet connections and network ports before sending the netbook. To what extent the laptop is otherwise still secured is not known.
Interested parties can bid for The Persistence of Chaos via the project’s website. Via thepersistenceofchaos.com a livestream is integrated, which shows the project with the netbook running. However, anyone wishing to bid for the work of art must dig deep into their pockets. According to the current status, at least 763,601 US dollars must be offered in order to place the new highest bid. For their money, the future buyer then receives the Samsung NC10-14GB netbook with Windows XP SP3, the power supply, the six malware programs on it and a restart script. The auction is still running for almost eight days.